Continuing our brief series of “it was shoved in my hands at a festival so I’m reviewing it” releases, is this 4-track offering from Luke Appleton. Many may know him from Iced Earth and Fury UK (he plays bass in both), and Absolva where he stretches to six strings, but Luke’s had a side project going for a while – a solo acoustic one. He played the Jager stage at Bloodstock this year armed with his trusty non-plugged-in guitar and also spoke to us before he went on. The interview will be online once we get decent internet at MT Central (just moved house!), but the CD he handed me is spinning as I type this.
OK, more details. Luke can play – we know that. But hearing it raw and unplugged, accompanied only by the man himself on vocals (and he can sing) is an entirely new experience. This isn’t Iced Earth without the cabs, or Absolva lite. This is a new, shaved beast all in its own right.
Where it would have been easy, maybe natural, to go down the widdly ballad route, Appleton has kept it pretty rocky. Sure, this is a gentle meander compared to his usual output, but it’s still bloody powerful. From the opening title track to the closing chords of “The Sound of Liberty”, the EP oozes quality. If it has a failing, it’s that there are only four tracks. I could have easily listened to a full album.
As far as I can tell, he’s the only person involved in the recordings which feature multiple guitar parts as well as numerous vocals – even more impressive that he also engineered, mixed, mastered and produced it.
This is a little golden nugget and very much deserves to be treasured. Here’s hoping that the EP turns out just to be a sample of greater things.
Header image by Sean Larkin